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13. Wherefore I do not know how it occurred to Theopompus to say that Demosthenes was unstable in his character and unable to remain true for any length of time to the same policies or the same men. For it is apparent that after he had at the outset adopted a party and a line of policy in the conduct of the city's affairs, he maintained this to the end, and not only did not change his position while he lived, but actually gave up his life that he might not change it. [2] For he was not like Demades, who apologised for his change of policy by saying that he often spoke at variance with himself, but never at variance with the interests of the city; nor like Melanopus, who, though opposed politically to Callistratus, was often bought over by him, and then would say to the people: ‘The man is my enemy, it is true, but the interests of the city shall prevail’; [3] nor like Nicodemus the Messenian, who first attached himself to Cassander and then again advocated the interests of Demetrius, but said that he was not contradicting himself, for it was always advantageous to listen to one's masters. We cannot say such things of Demosthenes also, as of one who is turned from his course and veers to and fro either in word or deed-nay, he followed one unchangeable scale, as it were, and ever held to one key in politics. [4] And Panaetius the philosopher says that most of his speeches also are written in the conviction that the good alone is to be chosen for its own sake, as, for instance, the speech ‘On the Crown,’ 1 the one ‘Against Aristocrates,’ 2 that ‘For the Immunities,’ 3 and the Philippics;4 for in all these he does not try to lead his countrymen to do what is pleasantest or easiest or most profitable, but in many places thinks they ought to make their safety and preservation secondary to what is honourable and fitting, so that, if the loftiness of his principles and the nobility of his speeches had been accompanied by such bravery as becomes a warrior and by incorruptibility in all his dealings, he would have been worthy to be numbered, not with such orators as Moerocles, Polyeuctus, Hypereides, and their contemporaries, but high up with Cimon, Thucydides, and Pericles.

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load focus Greek (Bernadotte Perrin, 1919)
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  • Cross-references to this page (1):
  • Cross-references in notes from this page (6):
    • Demosthenes, Philippic 1, 1
    • Demosthenes, Philippic 2, 1
    • Demosthenes, Philippic 3, 1
    • Demosthenes, Against Leptines, 1
    • Demosthenes, On the Crown, 1
    • Demosthenes, Against Aristocrates, 1
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